Music has been a powerful tool throughout most of my life. When I was 15 years old I started playing the drums and since that day my favorite band has always been the Southern California rock band, P.O.D. The lyrics were bold and spoke about life, real life, and the truth that we need every single day to help us live freely. I had P.O.D. shirts, as an early fan I had made for myself a P.O.D. hat and finally when I was 17 years old I saw the band play live. First, I saw them play at the Purple Door Music Festival and then again when they opened for Primus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
What set Sonny, the lead singer apart was three things: His faith, love for his family and love for people. Sonny was a man of convictions and up to this point I had only met a few men of this kind. Sonny had long dreadlocks and tattoos across most of his body. He had a passion for caring for the lost, hurting and disenfranchised. Many of the songs that P.O.D. produced helped me through very difficult times in my life. In the song Full Color, Sonny sings about the pain of losing his mom. This song helped me support a friend when his mom died. It also helped me grieve the loss of my own mom when I was a Sophomore in college. In the raw intensity of grief he writes,
I’ve never been it this state of mind, life just don’t make sense
With you I could move mountains, right now I’m helpless
I guess, you always knew what was best
Believed in your God, til the very last breath
You showed me how strong you can be
If Jesus saved your life, could he do it for me?
I’ll lay down my life for you and for Him
Believe God’s promise, I’m gonna see you again
When it felt like nobody understood my pain I would play this song way too many times a day. I stood by the words in this song and I knew there was somebody out there that understood not only my pain, but also where I find my hope! Over the years I saw Sonny play P.O.D. in the states of NJ, NY, PA, VA, SC, FL and more. We’ve since exchanged personal cell phone numbers, I’ve written him letters and we’ve connected many times in conversation while on tour. As a friend, he’s the real deal and I am incredibly thankful for his influence in my life.
For over ten years I worked as a teacher doing everything I could to give back what Sonny has given me. I often wondered how my life might have gone differently if I had a “Sonny” in my hometown investing in my life! That’s where I find my purpose to give back and to be this kind of a person to others. Sonny is the mentor that has changed my life! Today nothing is more important to me than my faith, love for my family and love for people.